The UK’s biggest retailers, the Home Office and independent charity Crimestoppers have today launched a new and timely campaign urging the public to ShopKind after the reopening of more stores and shops across the country.
Abuse and violence towards shopworkers is a bigger problem than many people might think, with at least 400 shopworkers abused every day.
The #ShopKind campaign urges the public to be mindful of shopworkers’ essential role in supporting people during these difficult times, and emphasises that we should all treat workers and also other customers with respect, kindness and gratitude.
The campaign is backed by the Home Office and supported by major high street retailer as well as the nation’s independent shopkeepers, and the shopworkers Union Usdaw. The ShopKind campaign will be visible across high streets and social media from today.
The Association of Convenience Stores’ 2021 Crime Report, published last month, shows that over the past year there have been over a 1.2million incidents of verbal abuse, and around 40,000 incidents of violence against people working in convenience stores. Of these, more than a quarter involved a weapon, such as a knife, hammer, axe, or syringe. Two-thirds of retailers (65%) had experienced Covid-related threats, with the most common causes of abuse being: reminding customers to wear face coverings, reminding customers of social distancing measures and queueing outside stores.
Home Office Minister for Policing and Crime, Kit Malthouse, said: “
Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets Paul Scully, said: “Retail workers have played an essential role in supporting communities across the country during the pandemic and have worked tirelessly to put covid-secure measures in place to keep us all safe.
“Staff in our great shops, pubs, hairdressers and more should be treated with the utmost respect and gratitude – after such a difficult year, we all have a duty to treat each other with kindness.”
Mark Hallas, Chief Executive of the charity Crimestoppers, said: “It’s truly shocking to think that at a time when we are all so reliant on retail workers to survive during the pandemic, that so many of them are encountering verbal and physical abuse on a daily basis.
“At a time of such national disruption due to Covid-19, shop staff should be appreciated by us all and thanked, not abused. Despite retailers’ vital role in the community, at the frontline, there are a significant minority of people who believe that being courteous and polite isn’t important. Our message today is clear – despite what is going on in anyone’s life, no shop worker deserves to be treated badly, let alone verbally or physically abused, We’re asking everyone to take a step back and think about the true value of these workers – supporting individuals, families and entire communities. So please ShopKind.”
Damian McGloughlin, Homebase CEO: “As an essential retailer, our store team members have continued to help and support our customers throughout the pandemic, and it saddens me to have seen an increase in abusive behaviour towards them. We stand firmly with other retailers and are committed to making the industry a safe place to work and shop. We’re proud to be supporting ShopKind because no one should have to tolerate any form of violence or abuse.”
Graham Bell, Chief Executive, B&Q, said: “Home improvement and gardening has been an enormous source of wellbeing over the past twelve months and our colleagues have done an outstanding job of keeping our stores open. They’ve given our customers access to the tools and products they need to not only adapt their homes to the new way of living and keep them warm, safe and secure but also as a way of maintaining good wellbeing in the past year. While the vast majority of shopping trips to our stores are trouble free, others are unfortunately not, which is why we’re supporting the ShopKind campaign. There is no place in retail for abuse and violence and we stand together with the retail community.”